Getting your financial
house in order
By JENNIFER BLANCHARD
Financial adviser, Commonwealth Financial Group
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
23, 2010 - Just as it's important to have your house ready for the
height of hurricane season - plywood to board up windows, loose
shingles repaired - it's crucial to have your financial house in
order, as well. What would happen if you suddenly had to evacuate?
What if you returned to find your home destroyed? Would you have
gathered the necessary financial documents so there was no interruption
in your financial life?
and maintain a legacy box where you store important financial information,
making it easy to take in the event of a hurricane, a fire or if
you lost a spouse. Oftentimes, one spouse tends to have a more active
role in handling the family finances, and the one left behind may
not even know what accounts exist and where they are held. This
legacy box can be a valuable tool that saves a lot of time and stress.
recommend using a file box you can grab easily (fireproof and waterproof
options are available). Create a master document that details all
pertinent information and then have a file folder for each category
containing necessary documents.
Include the following:
Property information: address, purchase price, owner(s),
purchase date and current market value. Include your primary residence
and any other real estate holdings. In a file titled "real
estate," add property tax statements. Keep deeds in your
bank safe deposit box.
including mortgage company name, loan number, owner(s), start
date, interest date, original loan time period, payment amount
and frequency, and outstanding principle amount. In a file titled
"liabilities," include loan statements.
Personal assets listing (cars,
boats, etc) to include asset name, purchase amount, owner(s),
purchase date and current market value. Also list all information
on any related loans and include loan statements in the "liabilities"
of all financial assets such
as checking accounts, savings account, CDs, non-qualified investment
accounts, college savings funds, 401(k), pension plans, IRAs and
annuities. Include the name of the asset (type of account) and
financial institution, account number, owner(s) and approximate
market value. Include web address, login and password information
on all online-access accounts. Keep a copy of a statement on each
of your accounts in a file titled "investments." If
you own any stock certificates be sure to keep those in your safe
of insurance information,
including medical, homeowner's, auto and umbrella insurance with
the name of insured(s), insurance company, policy number, annual
premium, company phone number, agent name and coverage limits.
For life insurance, include company name, policy number, type,
insured, policy-owner, beneficiary, annual premium and death benefit.
For disability and long-term care insurance, include company name,
policy number, name of insured, waiting period, benefit period,
benefit amount and monthly premium. In a file titled "health
insurance," include your medical, long-term care and disability
insurance policies. Place your life insurance policies in a file
titled "life insurance" and place your homeowner's,
umbrella, and car insurance policies in a file named "property
and casualty insurance."
a listing of your professional advisers
and their contact information (attorney, CPA, trustee, financial
adviser, primary physician and clergy).
on your safe deposit box,
such as bank name, box number and location of key and what important
documents are in it: will, trust agreements, power of attorney,
birth certificate, marriage license, car titles and deeds. Place
copies of these documents in a file in the box titled legal documents,
but always house the originals in your bank safe deposit box.
in the habit of updating this information regularly -- each time
a new large purchase is made and a liability is retired. Also, update
the statements on investments periodically to reflect a more appropriate
putting together a tool like this will take some time, it will save
you both time and money in the long run. With your financial house
in order, it will be so much easier for you and your family to access
important information at critical times, giving you greater peace
of mind today and more security for yourself and your heirs tomorrow.
Jennifer G. Blanchard is a financial adviser with Commonwealth
Financial Group on Daniel Island. She can be reached at 843-884-4545
to the Lowcountry! Here's how to dive right in
By ANN THRASH, contributing editor
23, 2010 - A nice young couple from Atlanta moved to our street
recently - - husband, wife, year-old baby, and two dogs.
the days since we first met them, I've found myself keeping a mental
list of stuff I want to be sure to tell them next time I see them
-- not just things like "Recycling gets picked up every other
Wednesday," but things that might help them explore and enjoy
the Lowcountry even more during these first few settling-in months.
are a couple of the things on my list -- and if you've got additions
or suggestions, e-mail
me and I'll pass your advice along in a future column.
in a Citadel football game. The Bulldogs do pageantry better
than anyone else in town. The entire Corps of Cadets marches into
the stadium shortly before the game begins, and there are bagpipers
and a great band (the Regimental Band) and Spike the Bulldog.
Add in Tony the Peanut Man and it's a winning combination on a
to one of the locally owned garden centers for advice on anything
you might want to do in your yard. No offense to the big-box stores,
but the local guys can always tell you what really, REALLY works
here and what doesn't - like if you plant pansies right now, they'll
be toast by Halloween. The local garden centers also tend to have
excellent selections of native plants that have become acclimated
over the generations to our heat, humidity and bugs.
Go to one of the farmers markets, find a bench to sit on
near the musical entertainment, and watch the people go by for
a while. You can take your dogs on their leashes. Then stock up
on veggies, pasta and fresh-cut flowers before heading home.
Buy some sweet-tasting fresh shrimp
from the docks at Shem Creek. You know the surefire way to tell
your shrimp are local? Buy them with the heads still on. If you're
not sure how to head them and peel them, we'll show you.
to the Coastal Carolina Fair. It starts in just over a month
(on Oct. 28), and it's a rite of fall in the Lowcountry. Buy food
that you know is bad for you, ride the latest crazy roller coaster
(before you eat, of course), spend a little too much change to
win a hideous stuffed animal that the baby will love anyway, and
enjoy the entertainers (James Gregory, Ricky Skaggs, 38 Special,
and The Marvelettes, Coasters and Platters -- talk about something
for everyone!). All the while, you'll be supporting the local
charities that benefit from the fair every year, thanks to the
Exchange Club of Charleston.
to avoid the intersection of Bowman Road and Highway 17 in
Mount Pleasant during these three time periods: 7 a.m. to 9:30
a.m., 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the rest of the day.
got so many wonderful restaurants
here that it's hard to know where to start in figuring out which
ones will ultimately become your favorites - but the 30th annual
Taste of Charleston on Oct. 10 is a good way to sample fare from
a diverse group of restaurants without having to put a ton of
miles on the car. More than 50 local dining spots will set up
shop at Boone Hall Plantation and serve sample portions of their
specialties, and the event's sponsor, the Greater Charleston Restaurant
Association, always delivers a fun afternoon. It benefits great
community causes, too.
another few weeks,
when you start hearing things about the Festival of Lights at
James Island County Park and the Holiday Parade of Boats, mark
the dates on your calendar and plan to go.
Hop a tour boat to Fort Sumter.
It always surprises me how many longtime residents of the Lowcountry
have never been out to see the historic fort in Charleston Harbor
- lots of them seem to put it in the "I'll get around to
that one day" category. But with the 150th anniversary of
the Civil War coming up beginning next year, traffic to the fort
is sure to pick up, so visit now, while the weather is moderate
and the crowds aren't likely to be too bad.
the mayor comes on TV during
hurricane season and tells you to hit the road, do it.
editor Ann Thrash, a Mount Pleasant native, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
people "get it" about need for precinct changes
I intended commenting last week on this very importance piece you
9/20] (concerning the need for change in party precinct
organization). I am hoping this reaches the party deciders and will
be a consideration in the near future.
article, as are all in Charleston Currents. Outshines the P-C on
Harriet Smartt, Isle of Palms
us your letters. We love getting input from you. If you have
an opinion you'd like to share (150 words or less), send your
letters to: email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!
public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Maybank
Industries, LLC of Charleston, SC. With broad experience in
commercial and government operations, Maybank Industries applies
deep-rooted commitment to teamwork, reliability and personal service
to provide innovative business solutions for project development,
information technology, logistics, vessel design, shipping agency
services and marine terminal operations, both locally and internationally.
Maybank Industries applies a powerful blend of professional expertise
to research, analyze and develop tailored solutions with thorough
plans of action, combining a heavy dose of common sense to solve
today's needs that can adapt to changing or evolving requirements.
Industries and Maybank
stay green together
GREG GARVAN, contributing editor
23, 2010 - Staples Office Company is experimenting with a new green
business feature, especially for small green businesses: do it yourself
shredding. They have installed machines in the self-service copy
areas in three districts across the country. It costs $5 for seven
minutes of shredding and you can put in lots of pages at once, this
is an industrial strength model. Imagine the tiny shredders that
can now stay out of landfills while we use these shared machines.
terrific green stories: At a regional conference in North
Carolina last week, a panel of five great pre-public companies
talked about why being green businesses has made such a difference
for them. Better World Books (Alabama and Georgia) and Namaste
Solar (Colorado) were my two favorite stories. They put right
out there in their everyday work and products the mission story
of why they operate like they do. BW Books has saved over 35 million
books from the landfill, and used them to support literacy programs
all over the world! Who is doing something like this in the Charleston/
Lowcountry area and wants to share their story? Write firstname.lastname@example.org
and let me know.
Fair is Sunday: Last reminder for the
Charleston Green Fair this Sunday at Marion Square from noon
to 8 p.m. Come and be exposed to a world of green services and
businesses and learn how you can add so much more green to your
Garvan of James Island is president of Money with a Mission, an
18-year-old, fee-only financial planning firm that specializes in
socially responsible/ 'green' asset management. On the Web: moneywithamission.com.
3 Citadel grads to be Wall of Fame
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. leads this year's list of inductees
into The Citadel School of Education's Wall of Fame.
Wall of Fame honors Citadel graduates and others who have distinguished
themselves as educators and/or as supporters of public education.
The third annual Wall of Fame banquet, an invitation only event,
will take place Sept. 30.
Johnson, dean of the School of Education, said in addition to recognizing
individuals for their achievements, this Wall of Fame banquet is
intended to highlight recent accomplishments of The Citadel School
of Education and to solicit community support for its ongoing transformation
into a great school of education.
of the 2010 inductees are Citadel graduates. In addition to Riley,
R. Lindsay, clinical professor in the Education Leadership and
Polices Department of the College of Education at the University
of South Carolina and former South Carolina deputy secretary of
Lucy Garrett Beckham, the 2010 MetLife/NASSP National High School
Principal of the Year.
addition to honoring this year's inductees, the School of Education
will highlight the STEM Center of Excellence, a collaborative venture
of the Schools of Education, Engineering, and Science and Mathematics
to enhance educational opportunities in those disciplines.
Spoleto applications due soon
Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs is accepting applications
for the 2011 Piccolo
Spoleto Festival, May 27-June 12, 2011.
for the Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition are due Oct. 1 and applications
for the Piccolo Spoleto Fellowship are due Oct. 11.
can be obtained from the Office of Cultural Affairs, 180 Meeting
St., Suite 200, Charleston, S.C. 29401. For more information, call
teachers can apply for mini-grants
Charleston County-area S.C.
Project Impact Initiative is offering a mini-grant program to
Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester County elementary and middle
will be given to schools that develop programs using art, music,
theater or hands-on activities to educate students about the types
of hazardous events that could impact the Lowcountry, and ways to
minimize losses associated with these types of events.
is also available for projects that educate students about environmental
awareness and protection. The funding may be used for supplies or
materials needed for these projects.
total of $2,000 is available for local schools, and up to $500 will
be distributed to the selected applicants.
mini-grant program is funded by Project Impact, an ongoing initiative
originally sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
to assist local communities in becoming more disaster resistant.
application deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 3, and award notification will
occur by Jan. 5. Applications
can be downloaded.
emergency, specialized vet clinic under construction
veterinarians who want to refer animals for specialized care and
pet owners seeking emergency care for seriously ill animals will
have a new veterinary hospital to turn to in March 2011.
is under way at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, 3484 Shelby
Ray Court, off the Glenn McConnell Parkway in Charleston. The new
16,000-square-foot hospital will offer 24-hour, seven-day-a-week
emergency and critical care, board certified specialists in a range
of fields, and an imaging center including technologies such as
MRI, CT scan, ultrasound and color flow Doppler, digital radiology
and fluoroscopy. ?
hospital's founder, Dr. Alan Green, has worked as a small animal
veterinary practitioner for more than 25 years. Green, one of the
founders of BrightHeart Veterinary Centers, a national network of
advanced-care veterinary centers, retired to Kiawah Island in 2008.
After a year of retirement, he found he missed his staff along with
mentoring young veterinarians.
more information, visit www.CharlestonVRC.com.
If you have a review or recommendation of a book, movie, restaurant
or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to
editor Marsha Guerard.
Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
Ashley River: A historic and natural treasure
for mile, the relatively short Ashley River is perhaps unrivaled
in the Southeast, if not the nation, for its history, its diversity
of habitats, and its location in a major city. Emerging from the
Wassamassaw and Cypress Swamps in Berkeley and Dorchester counties,
it flows only about sixty miles before joining the Cooper River
in Charleston harbor.
its short length, the river transitions through three separate types
of riverine ecosystems: a blackwater stream, a freshwater tidal
river, and a saltwater tidal river, each producing extensive and
different types of wetlands. These diverse ecosystems and their
transitional zones generate an abundant variety of plants and animals
and represent the natural history of the lower coastal plain of
Ashley River played a central role in the history of South Carolina.
The colony's first English settlement was established along its
banks at Albemarle Point in 1670. Originally named the Kiawah River
after the region's Native American inhabitants, the river was renamed
in honor of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, one of the original Lords
Proprietors. A decade later the settlement was relocated to the
peninsula downstream, where the Ashley joins the Cooper to form
an outstanding harbor, opening into the Atlantic. This juncture
enabled Charleston to become a major colonial seaport, even though
the Ashley was short and did not connect the seaport with the interior
via a navigable waterway. This circumstance helped isolate the Lowcountry
from the upstate and promoted settlement of the upstate by immigrants
from North Carolina and Virginia rather than from Charleston.
limited to the coastal area, the Ashley did serve as an important
route of regional transportation and commerce. Its navigable terminus
was Dorchester, a major trading post settled in 1697 about twenty
miles upstream from Charleston. Along the river's length were established
prominent plantations, such as Middleton Place, Magnolia, and Drayton
Hall. Vessels ranging from canoes to rice barges and schooners connected
these places and were manned by Europeans and African Americans,
both enslaved and free. During the postbellum era, phosphate was
mined extensively from lands on both sides of the Ashley, and docks
for barges lined the river. These varied activities left some important
archaeological sites. As a result of its historical significance
and natural beauty, the Ashley was named a National Historic District
in 1994 and a State Scenic River in 1999.
irony is that its qualities also make the Ashley River highly vulnerable
to the negative effects of suburban sprawl, pollution, and heavy
boat traffic. Private organizations, public agencies, and citizens
are taking steps to protect the Ashley and to find ways to balance
conservation and growth. Caught amidst these contending pressures,
the future of the Ashley River will indicate much about South Carolina
in the years to come.
Excerpted from the entry by George McDaniel. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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the founder of Pet Helpers on Folly Road, has been a local animal
rescue advocate for longer than our dog has had fleas. We asked
her for her list of five things you can do for your pet.
your pet with a microchip: In emergencies, collars can fall off,
but microchips are permanent.
your pet with clean water, food (according to a vet's recommendations),
and shelter from the elements.
- Spend time
each day walking your dog on a leash; they enjoy this companionship.
- Make sure
your pets, especially if they spend a majority of their time outdoors,
have their vaccines up to date.
the pets look to you for protection, and most of all, provide
them with love!
Find out the
latest about Pet Helpers at www.pethelpers.org.
"An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just
THIS WEEK |
MOJA Opening Reception: 6 p.m., today,
Courtyard of Dock Street Theatre, 133 Church St. A free reception
to celebrate the kickoff of the annual MOJA Festival. Performances,
art exhibitions and more from today through Oct. 3. Find
out more online.
Revival of Local Businesses:
7 to 9:30 p.m., today, 501 King
St. The members of Lowcountry Local First are throwing a Revival,
a celebration and rejuvenation of local independent businesses.
Cary Ann Hearst and the Shifters will lead the choir and Rodney
Lee Rogers of Pure Theater will ignite the congregation. There is
no charge but donations will be accepted. Spirits and refreshments
will be on hand.
Huck Finn Fishing Festival: 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 25,
Colonial Lake. Open to kids between the ages of 4 and 12. Awards
will be given to the top finishers in each age group (4-6, 7-9,
10-12). Other prizes will be awarded during a raffle at the end
of the event. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the fishing is
between 9-11 a.m. Concessions will be available. Cost: $3 per child.
Call 965-4002 for more information.
Film festival: 7 p.m., Sept. 25, Olde North Charleston
Picture House, 4820 Jenkins Ave. A national nonprofit organization
called "Lights. Camera. Help." is sponsoring a festival
to celebrate cause-driven films in partnership with The Greater
Park Circle Film Society. Nationally recognized and local films
will be presented. Tickets
are available online and at the event for a $10 donation.
Mile Weekend: Sept. 25-26. Visit five museums, seven historic
buildings and one powder magazine all for $20. This single Museum
Mile Weekend pass gives you admission at 13 sites along Meeting
Street. Many of the cultural institutions will also offer special
programs during Museum Mile Weekend. Order
online, call 722-2996 ext. 235, or buy in person at any official
Charleston Area Visitor Center location. $20/adult, $10/child 12
ONGOING AND SOON
reform talk: 4:30 p.m., Sept. 29, The College Center
at the Complex for Economic Development at Trident Technical College,
7000 Rivers Ave., Building 920. The Education Foundation and area
chambers of commerce present Mike Fanning, executive director of
the Olde English Consortium. Fanning will speak on South Carolina's
tax system and the need for comprehensive tax reform to improve
funding for public education, health and human services, public
safety, roads and infrastructure and higher education. Free. More
Couture Gala: Sept 30, Memminger Auditorium. This gala
features bolo ties, 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots to benefit the
Treatment Foundation. After filling up on grub from Iverson
Catering, hit the dance floor to bluegrass favorites by the Carolina
Chocolate Drops and funk and soul ensemble The MAXX. A live auction
has fantastic items in store. Tickets are $150 and can be ordered
by phone (843) 647-8662 or online.
& Brew: 6 to 10:30 p.m., Oct. 7, Omar Shrine Temple,
176 Patriots Point Street, Mount Pleasant. The Second Annual Bubbly
& Brew will benefit My Sister's House. Guests will dine on selections
from High Thyme, Home Team BBQ, Gullah Cuisine and more as well
as sip on champagne, cocktails from Firefly Distillery and beers
from local brewers. A silent auction and live music from party band
Permanent Vacation are planned. Tickets are $50 in advance and can
be purchased online or $60 at the door.
and paint: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Oct. 26, The Meeting
Place, 1077 East Montague Ave., North Charleston. An adult workshop
featuring Poetry and Paint taught by Mary Harris and Karole Turner
Campbell. Participants will be inspired to combine poetry and paint
in a unique experience that combines two art forms. Materials are
provided. Fee: $5. Registration begins one month ahead and ends
two days prior to class.
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Lowcountry Loc 1st
away some pecans
film on Jews, baseball
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Class of '14
to do on 4th
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the Pump, more
to do locally
"new era" for SC
isn't dirty word
Dave the Potter
pix make impact
LUCASH: BUSINESS INDIGO
Kucha 7 coming
After 5 hits Chas
fair, CED venture
on working with Boeing
library text questions
GARVAN: CHARLESTON GREEN
can be tied to ideals
Tech green grant
for going back to school
to rid roadblocks
for keeping warm
for your face
on long-term care
on childhood obesity
on breast cancer
at the Gibbes
local dog romps
+ Food fest